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Law Prevents New Buildings From Casting Shadows on Historic Boston Common

December 21, 1990 GMT

BOSTON (AP) _ Gov. Michael S. Dukakis couldn’t stop clouds from blocking the sun over historic Boston Common Friday, but he signed into law a bill to prevent new buildings from shadowing the common for more than one hour a day.

″The good Lord is casting a shadow over us all here, even as I speak,″ Dukakis said before he signed the bill, standing at the edge of the park.

Commons are found in many New England towns. Boston Common was established in 1634, when the city’s first settler, a hermit named William Blackstone, agreed to sell 45 acres to the town of Boston.


Boston Common was first used as a pasture for citizens’ animals. Later, it was a training site for the militia and the site of public hangings.

Today, the common is a popular tourist attraction. It’s located on Beacon Hill, just below the gold-domed Massachusetts Statehouse.

Senate President William Bulger, who represents parts of Boston, sponsored the bill, which he said will give ″a greater protection for this particular important part of our lives.″

The new law also applies to the common in the nearby town of Lynn. The bill’s sponsors added Lynn to the measure to bypass a requirement that the city first approve the measure. Boston Mayor Raymond Flynn had opposed the bill, but went along with it after it was amended slightly.

The lame-duck governor said one thing he will miss in leaving office next month is looking out on the common from his office window.

Dukakis, the 1988 Democratic presidential candidate, did not seek re- election as governor this year. Republican William Weld was elected and will be inaugurated on Jan. 3.

″I can tell you that there have been many occasions where for a variety of reasons I have needed a certain amount spiritual uplifting,″ Dukakis said, ″and there’s nothing like walking over to that window and looking down.″